Bryant moves from field to AD position at Newnan
by Chris Goltermann
By CHRIS GOLTERMANN
Jeff Bryant was looking the part of his new role at Newnan High School well on Friday, donning a shirt and tie — be it all part of a photo opportunity with one of his more well-known football players back in town.
The tougher thing, he admits, will be how he’ll handle being off the field this fall.
Bryant was recently named the school’s new athletic director, replacing Steve Allen, who transferred to East Coweta High, where his daughter is a student.
Stepping out of coaching positions, both as a longtime Cougars assistant on the football field, where he also held the title of co-defensive coordinator, as well as leading Newnan’s golf program after a banner 2014 season, was the trade off for moving into administration heading into the 2014-15 school year.
“It’s going to be different, especially not being out there in the fall for practice,” Bryant said. “The good thing is I get to stay around it.”
Bryant will also have to find his own replacement in Newnan’s varsity golf program. The Cougars are coming off a fourth-place finish in last year’s Georgia High School Association Class AAAAAA State Championship after winning their sixth consecutive region title. At one point of the state tournament, Newnan’s boys held the lead.
The Lady Cougars, meanwhile, won their first region championship this spring.
“It’ll be tough stepping away from that also, especially after this past year and where the program’s going,” said Bryant.
It didn’t take long, however, for Newnan head football coach Mike McDonald to find someone to fill an opening on his defensive staff while turning to a former Cougar linebacker and key member of the school’s back-to-back state semifinal appearances in 2008 and 2009.
Adam Strakose, who recently wrapped up his college career at West Georgia, will coach his former position in his first coaching job since graduation.
Strakose was a four-year contributor while playing in 10 games each season and emerging into an immediate starter with the Wolves. His 41 tackles as a senior ranked fifth among the defense for a former All-State, All-Region and All-County standout in high school at Newnan.
The Cougar program also added assistant Marvell McKelphin to the staff in the offseason to coach running backs.
McKelphin, who coached football and baseball at East Coweta under Danny Cronic, spent the last 15 years at Carrollton coaching under Rayvan Teague, Ross New and the late Ben Scott and was part of the Trojans’ state championship staff in 1998. He served as Carrollton’s defensive coordinator last year under Teague, who accepted an athletic director’s position at Westside High in Anderson, S.C., after retiring from coaching.
Newnan assistant Hap Hines, who has coached running backs, will coach tight ends this season in addition to becoming the program’s special teams coordinator following the retirement of Bob Sandlin.